Aurora Perrineau talks about forgiveness, Lena Dunham & Jenni Konner

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Glamour Magazine did an excellent piece with Aurora Perrineau as a way to promote her role in Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us, about the Central Park Five case. Aurora is a young actress, and the daughter of Harold Perrineau (most famous for Oz and Lost). Her name is also familiar to many people because of Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner. The backstory: in 2012, Murray Miller (allegedly) sexually assaulted Aurora Perrineau when she was just 17 years old. She later went to the police and made a statement, the police investigated and eventually declined to file charges. In the midst of the LAPD investigation, The Wrap reported that Aurora had spoken to police and accused Miller of assault. Murray Miller is one of Lena and Jenni’s close friends, and in the wake of The Wrap’s report, they issued a statement in which they called Aurora a liar and said their friend would never do anything like that. It was bad. So bad that Lena later took it back and apologized to Aurora repeatedly, in private and in public.

This Glamour piece isn’t just an interview with Aurora, it’s a comprehensive timeline of exactly what happened in Aurora’s life during that fraught time. What’s beautiful is that Aurora isn’t wielding any particular grudge against Lena – she says Lena apologized and she accepted the apology, although Aurora also notes that Jenni Konner has never said one word to her. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

First she told her parents what had happened: “It was a very dark time. I wasn’t very good. There was a lot of self-harm.” She’d gotten so afraid of the outside world that she could barely leave her house. Her parents hazarded an intervention. The upshot was more or less, “We can’t help you unless you tell us what is going on because this is getting progressively worse and worse.”

Even if nothing happened to her assailant, she’s glad she went to the police: “For a long time I tried to figure out how to get my power back. Going to the police station, filing a report—it kind of got the monkey off my back.”

Her first reaction to Konner & Dunham’s statement: “Woman to woman, I just thought that support would be there,” Perrineau says. She’s reluctant to assess what motivated them, which speaks as much to her grace as it does to how serious it is to accuse someone of a false rape accusation. But her most generous guess is that it was fear. “Fear for their friend or someone that they thought was their friend,” she says. Perrineau didn’t comment on the statement. She listened to her father, who told her: “We just need to take a second, be silent, let the facts speak for themselves.” He also assured her: “They’re going to be on the wrong side of history.” Perrineau remained quiet.

She saw how black women had her back: “It’s hard enough to ever come [forward], but then to be a woman of color and know that there’s a very good chance that no one is going to believe you? I think it opened my eyes to that. I’m grateful for that part of it.”

On Lena’s private & public apologies: “She apologized [to me privately] and explained why she felt like she did, and I think that was a big thing for her to do. And she publicly did the same thing because she felt like she needed to right the wrong that she had done, and in the best way that she knows how.” It wasn’t the most elegant process, Perrineau allows, but at least Dunham did it. Perrineau says she has still never heard a word from Konner. (Konner and Dunham split as a creative team in July 2018. As of press time, Konner hasn’t responded to a request for comment.) “She’s been silent,” Perrineau says. She’s about to go on, but stops. “It’s been continuously about Jenni and Lena, and they weren’t the perpetrators. There is still a bigger problem than them.”

[From Glamour]

Throughout the piece, Aurora astounds me with her grace and forgiveness of Lena. I don’t think I would be able to do that, not after Lena and Jenni’s statement. I would have wanted them hung out to dry publicly, which… let’s face it, they were. That was the end of Lena in particular – she had already done a million terrible things, but the second she put her name to that statement, she was cancelled by SO many people.

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59 Responses to “Aurora Perrineau talks about forgiveness, Lena Dunham & Jenni Konner”

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  1. anna2222222 says:

    I have so much respect for her grace and courage, but I just with she didn’t have to… I wish she could be a young woman with the world at her feet who’s never going to know the fear and horror of being a victim of sexual assault and then a victim of a culture that protects perpetrators.

    • Some chick says:

      I wish this for all young women. I wish that was how it worked. The world does not support us. Even Lena and Jenni live in a sexist world. They’re blinded by their privilege (and/or lack of empathy) so they don’t see how much worse it is for so many. And this is why they’re getting dragged.

      Aurora’s grace and intelligence (and wisdom – not the same thing) are so apparent and will serve her so well. She is classy from beginning to end.

      She is a rising star who will go far, after Lena and Jenni (who?) are long irrelevant.

      Something superficial: she’s also gorgeous.

  2. Ader says:

    Another example of how black women just cannot trust white women. At this point, it’s almost “shame on us” for trusting white women.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      Yup. And if white women want to know why black women often don’t trust them this story is a prime example. White feminists seem to be all about being pro-women and believe women until the woman in question doesn’t look like them.

    • Alexis says:

      I’m sorry you feel that way. I would have your back. From a freckly white woman.

      • KEEKS says:

        Also a freckly white woman, who was abused and treated harshly by other women, but has never turned her back on another woman ever. It’s a shame we don’t all have each other’s backs regardless.

      • Some chick says:

        OK, Not All White Women. Just the 53% of white women who voted for the current regime. OK?

        White feminists (like Lena) have consistently prioritized their concerns over those of WoC, for years, while expecting their support. This is a legit gripe. It’s time for white feminists to step up for sisters of color (and men of color, for that matter).

      • Ader says:

        “I’m sorry you feel that way; not me!” is….problematic.

      • Ader says:

        @Keeks — yes, I wish the white women I have come across in my life felt that way too. But every single one I’ve invited into my life has proven otherwise. They all have had implicit bias problems that resulted in an unequal friendship. Their abuse and hardships ALWAYS took precedence over mine. Always.

      • Millennial says:

        That 53% of white women number has been proven incorrect. It was said everywhere so people remember it, but it’s factually inaccurate. The true number was 47% for Trump, 45% Clinton, and Susan Sarandons made up the rest. Not that much better, but those are the real numbers. Time did an article about it but I won’t link here since many links don’t make it past the mods.

      • Ader says:

        But Millennial, do you understand that liberal white women also have implicit bias problems? Some of the worst “racists” I know are “white savior liberals.”

      • Hope says:

        “Their abuse and hardships ALWAYS took precedence over mine. Always.”


      • lawyergal says:

        @Ader. Everything you’ve said. @Millennial, even based on your revised statistics more of you voted Trump than Hillary, but sure, let’s miss the point entirely on purpose.

    • Snowflake says:

      I’m sorry you guys have been done that way.

    • Nikki says:

      Ader, I am sorry you’ve been let down repeatedly by white women. I am sure you have good reason for your opinion. As a white woman who’s a survivor of rape and incest, I hope I would never let you down. Even if the whole world is crazy, I can only try to live my own truth, compassion, and loyalty.

  3. Renee2 says:

    This young woman has demonstrated more grace than I would ever do. I am glad that she is getting attention for her role in the Ava Duvarney project.

    And I love that Black women had her back and supported her. Yes, my sistren came through!!!

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      Of course we did. We always have her our own backs because no one else does.

      • Renee2 says:

        My experience hasn’t always been that that is the case. But the latter part of your statement I agree with 💯.

  4. LolaB says:

    Harold Perrineau was also in “Romeo + Juliet” with Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio. That’s still a bomb ass soundtrack.

    • MrsBanjo says:

      He was fantastic as Mercutio. He and Pete Postlethwaite as the Priest were who made the movie for me.

    • Nicegirl says:

      He also does some of the most amazing acting I’ve ever seen on the tv show ‘Claws’ where he plays a young man on the Autism Spectrum. I’m floored by Harold Perrineau’s talent.

      • MrsBanjo says:

        Oh I’m going to have to check that out. I’m on the Spectrum as are two of my kids. I’m always looking for good portrayals.

    • Peanutbuttr says:

      He was also in Sons of Anarchy and his character was involved in one of the most disturbing murder scenes ever.

  5. Mtam says:

    All this reminds me is that we set the bar so low for white women like Lena Dunham.

    Literally all Lena did was the most basic decent thing to do, which was apologize, and even that apology came with the hope that it would restore her public image. Aurora is being so gracious and generous by giving Lena that leeway and benefit of the doubt, but she shouldn’t have to be.

    We all know how self-centered and problematic Lena is, and it honestly irritates me how much sympathy and second chances Lena is still allowed. (Jenni Konner is trash too, but I don’t know enough about her to speak on her character other than this incident).

    Wish Aurora had gotten justice, but at least she sounds like she’s handling herself well and will continue to do great things.

    • Louise177 says:

      Although what Lena did was horrible I think she did try to make it right. She could have done the one public apology but she had several apologies and conversations with Aurora. But I do hate how some people do the bare minimum and get huge praise. Reminds of Taylor Swift. She just supported a candidate and donated a few thousand to charity and people couldn’t stop praising her, claiming she’s a huge political force and spokesperson. Forgetting/ignoring how little she spoke about women’s rights and the white supremacy followers she had.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      All of this. Although I think Jenni Konner has mote than exhibited her character by never reaching out to Aurora.

  6. SKF says:

    I was date raped by a new boyfriend when I was 17. It took me years to deal with it and over a decade to tell my parents. I never went to the cops. I never had to deal with it being public. I never had to deal with the colour of my skin making people doubt me even more. I never had to deal with effed up so-called feminists calling me a liar in a public forum. I cannot even fathom any of that. She is incredible. So strong and wise and full of grace. Full respect to her. I take my hat off to her.

    At the time this statement was released I sent about 8 tweets to Lena Dunham because it just upset me so much that those women had done that. It really hit a chord. And it hits home to me that one of the biggest and most prevalent parts of rape culture is that people don’t want to believe that someone they know and like, who seems like a great person, could also be a rapist. I know I told a number of my rapist’s friends what he did to me. They were my friends too. It made them uncomfortable, they said it didn’t surprise them, and yet not a single one of them altered or ended their friendship with him or ever said a word about it.

    Similarly a few years ago I briefly dated a guy who was a friend of my two flat mates (who I was right with) on the rebound from my boyfriend. He got drunk and tried to force me to blow him when I said no, then repeatedly tried to have sex with me by climbing on me when I said no, no, no!! He then refused to give me his street address for a cab and locked me in his apartment until I started calling the cops. Again, I told my flat mates and they were totally unsurprised. Said they could absolutely see him doing something like that “when drunk” and they stayed friends with him and never said a word about it to him.

    I talk to a lot of men about rape, sexual assault and rape culture. A lot of them express horror about these things but when I ask them directly if they’ve ever heard a rumour or story about a friend doing anything dodgy with or to women, and they all think on it and admit yes (the vast majority of the time) and then I ask them if they ever confronted their friend or called them out on it or considered ending their friendship as a result. Did they ask their friend the tough questions? Or, did they just ignore it because it was uncomfortable and difficult? It is pretty much always the latter. And then they feel ashamed. And I say: and that right there is rape culture.

    Most rapists are otherwise “good”, likeable people. The stranger/monster in the bushes is a rarity. Most college students who admit to having committed sexual assault when described various scenarios without labels attached, also say they are not a rapist. They don’t see themselves that way. Most rapists don’t think of what they have done as rape. We all need to understand this better and deal with it better.

    • FilmTurtle says:

      Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry this happened to you (poor words, but it’s the best I can do in the moment). But thank you for sharing.

    • Snowflake says:

      Thank you for your post.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      Im so sorry this happened to you and you are absolutely right. People always have a harr time believing that someone they know is capable of sometjing like rape. But I say – every rapist has friends and family. That has no bearing on their private actions.

    • Janna says:

      Thank you for your comment.

      I’m so sorry that you were put though such a horrible experience.

      I concur wholeheartedly with what you say about how people, and especially men, view sexually predatory and abusive friends – that the people they know are somehow exceptions to the rule – that they can’t really be the monsters we hear about on the news and how this helps to perpetuate sexual assault and to undermine the credibility of women reporting it.

      You have put into words something I’ve been thinking about for some years.

      Thank you.

    • c8h10n4o2 says:

      I was assaulted violently by a guy who was an ex-boyfriend of one of my good friends in high school. It took me like 15 years to tell some of my friend group, but I still haven’t told her or her best friend because he was an amazing support to her when SHE was raped. 30 years later this shit is still fraught with tension and I have to be very careful about what I say when people talk about how great he is. At least the people who know have decreed that he’s a piece of shit, though. I couldn’t take it if they didn’t. So sorry.

      • SKF says:

        God that’s horrible. I’m so sorry to hear that! In my early 20s I fell asleep on a couch and woke up with the boyfriend of a close frornd’s fingers inside of me. I did not know what to do – I completely froze. I had been good friends with him since I was 14 years old. I trusted him. He and my friend had been together 6 or 7 years and she loved him beyond reason. I sort of made “I’m waking up!” noises, he hastily extracted his fingers from me, and I basically just cut him out of my life as best I could. I never told her – I don’t think she was capable of believing me at the time. Thankfully they broke up after a while and she’s now happily married. I have considered telling her now but am still unsure. It’s so unfair, isn’t it?

    • Violette says:

      ^Truth. Thanks for sharing your story – SKF. I also asked my men friends and ex-s (actually women F&F too) the same questions since I volunteered at a rape crisis center for some years. It left me so disappointed because people didn’t want to believe that someone they knew or thought was good could commit sexual abuse or violence. Their personal bias tainted their ability to accept. Even more – it’s very rare for them to do the right thing and to acknowledge that in a way they are supporting the perpetrators. In the end “their comfort, the it’s easier to turn away and keep thinking that it’s the strangers, victim’s fault and continued denials” logic wins. Just my own thoughts that we’ve not made a significant process in shifting to the abusers from this rape/victim shaming culture. It is only small pockets like here that I see someone talking about this.

      • SKF says:

        We really haven’t and it is a tough pill to swallow. I think that so much needs to change in they way we talk about it and educate about it. Big, comprehensive education programs need to roll out to all kids, all university students and, to be frank, to the community at large. The way it is currently taught needs to be completely overhauled. The way we discuss it, and write and read news about it and so much more needs to change.

        I actually think it is important to have realistic date rape and other scenes in media that kids are watching so that they see and understand what it can look like and what the aftermath can be like – as long as it is done sensitively of course. I wasn’t a big fan of 13 Reasons Why but those two rape scenes in S1 (I didn’t watch S2) hit me hard. It was an otherwise “nice” and popular guy who did great things for other people all the time, who had no “need” to rape, and who took advantage of drunk girls. He didn’t think of himself as a rapist and his friends struggled to think of him that way. Even one of his victims struggled to think it might have happened. I actually thought that was really well done. Of course, I don’t know what the outcome was; but in reality he would get away with it 994 times out of 1000.

        Importantly, our court systems need to change too; but that is a tough one and can only happen once public understanding has changed.

        All very tough.

    • SKF says:

      Thanks guys, I appreciate your support! I am now 36 and well and truly healed. I wish it hadn’t happened but it did and it is a part of who I am and has contributed to my advocacy about sexual assault. Weirdly I was more okay with that Sansa Stark line than most because I get it exactly – it is part of you, you can’t change it, and the strength you gather (from within and from those around you) to heal and recover becomes a part of you and – in part – makes you who you are today. Which is a long-winded way of saying: I’m fine but your support is amazing!

      And yes, this is a HUGE issue. Until we can educate ourselves as a society better about what sexual crimes actually look like and who perpetrates them, and then rid ourselves of toxic masculinity and bro-culture and this idea that we things like sexual assault and domestic violence are “private” topics and none of our business; then we will still have a huge problem.

  7. otaku fairy... says:

    Good thing Aroura got some support, after being thrown under the bus by two powerful liberal white women. Lena Dunham is still cancelled, and the fact that Jenni Konner still couldn’t bother to apologize in public or in private speaks volumes.

  8. Alexis says:

    “We just need to take a second, be silent, let the facts speak for themselves.” He also assured her: “They’re going to be on the wrong side of history.” Her Dad is an amazing individual. Those are such wise words. So is she. Good for her and how she handled the situation.

  9. Cee says:

    When you survive assault no one can manage when and how you tell someone. It took me 1.5 years to tell my mother. My father doesn’t know. I suffered PTSD for a while, and was diagnosed with depression, caused by the abuse I survived. It took me about a year for me to heal and to find men attractive again (I had no libido, at all)
    It’s amazing how a short moment of violence can catapult us into years of suffering. Once the physical pain is forgotten, we have to carry on with the pain of people judging and questioning us. It makes you feel wrong, a failure, and dirty, as if, somehow, you are responsible for the abuse. This is why we keep silent for a while – because people like Aurora (and I) were judged and re-victimized all over again.

    • SKF says:

      Big hugs to you!!!

      It took me 8 years to tell my mum, and in actual fact, I didn’t tell her, I got really emotional debating a male family friend about rules of consent and my mum is very perceptive. There was a moment we were left alone and she said: who raped you? And then it came out.

      My dad I feel sad about. It was a few years later. We had caught up for dinner when living in different states. We somehow started bickering about something semi-related to these issues. I mentioned that most men don’t stand up for what is right when around other men. He vehemently disagreed. I told him that he was guilty of it and brought up the above incident when our family friend was banging on about how ridiculous consent laws are (ie: that someone has to verbally say yes or no because of course you know when someone wants to have sex with you or not!), and my dad (many red wines in) was agreeing with him. He denied it. We had a huge argument about it. I told him I remembered it very clearly because it had upset me so much at the time, he didn’t think I had any reason to recall it better than him and then I blurted out that I had been date raped and so YEAH, I recalled the massive betrayal I felt when my father was nodding along in agreement to someone else saying these things, and then I stormed out. I regret it to this day because it hurt him so much and he was so hurt and devastated and upset. I never even meant to tell him. He apologised extensively and I don’t think that IS the normal way he thinks at all – he was drunk at the time and just going with the flow. Normally he always stands up for what he believes in But the point is that even great men sometimes don’t call their mates out for their shitty opinions.

      It takes time… It took me months to even admit to MYSELF what had happened. 6 months to tell some friends. About 4-5 years to tell my sister. Now I am super open and will tell pretty much anyone and everyone because I think open discourse and personalising the issue is super important. Before you can heal you need to process the shame and guilt and sadness and anger that you feel. The betrayal. The wrongness of it all. It takes time and a lot of thinking and talking through it. You will never be the SAME as before, but you will be whole. You will find that the strength you found to carry on and move on becomes a huge part of you and a part that you can love about yourself. All the best to you on your journey. xxx

  10. Nicegirl says:

    I’m so sorry Survivors. You deserve so much better.

  11. GR says:

    I’m pretty sure that Dunham is an out and out racist. Remember that thing she did where she was at some event and there was a black man there also – I believe an athlete- and even though there was no interaction between them, she decided he was sexually evaluating her somehow? It was really gross and upsetting.

  12. Nichole says:

    Just curious, was there any fallout for the man in this? I see he wasn’t charged; did it affect his career? I googled his name and all of the current news stories are related to this interview, so I can’t really tell.

  13. Pix says:

    She has still never heard a word from Konner. “She’s been silent,” Perrineau says.
    What a disgusting person. Dunham – who I loathe – is at least trying to be human being. I guess Konner can’t be bothered because of her enormous ego. SMH.

  14. Ben says:

    I don’t know why some people here say Lena is canceled. Didn’t she get an HBO deal for a series staring Jennifer Garner? Doesn’t she produce a podcast for trans activist Janet Mock? Lena is not canceled. She is and will always be more than fine thanks to all the privileges she’s had since birth. Those privileges are now bigger thanks to her fame and capacity of making money off a series with an all-white cast mind you.

    • WTW says:

      @Ben, Standing ovation. My sentiments exactly.

    • SKF says:

      She is also one of Manson’s girls in the latest Tarantino film. She was just at the Met Gala again. Etc etc etc.

  15. Wilma says:

    I always wonder whether a black woman who shows grace would also be able to be openly angry. Is she holding back because she knows her anger will be used against her? We always praise black women for showing restraint and grace. I admire her for it, but I do wonder how we would talk about her if she went into rage mode (I would have and I realize that’s part of the privilege of being white).

    • Lanne says:

      Such a great comment. The answer is that black women can NEVER show how we really feel (I mean any real negative feeling). We train ourselves to be “gracious” in any non black space because we know that any negativity we show will be used against us. What would have happened to this young lady had she said “fuck Lena Dunham with a chainsaw forever?” She would be called angry, ungracious, she would be publicly lectured and shamed. Lena would probably cry, and then aurora could likely kiss her career goodbye. Ever wonder why black church is so exuberant? A lot of it is an outlet for all the bullshit you had to take during the week. You can let. It. All. Out.

      • Wilma says:

        Yeah, it seems really tiring to always have to walk the lines that we have drawn for POC. And then to need to pass that on to the next generation and to have to tell and teach your kids how to walk the line while also trying to teach them taking pride in who they are must be heartbreaking.

    • Ader says:

      Wilma, you get it. Thank you!

  16. prettypersuasion says:

    Murray Miller is very connected to that hipstery side of Hollywood. Busy Phillips, Andy Samberg, Judd Apatow, Jesse Peretz….his wedding was featured in Elle!! (His wife is BFFs w/ Elle’s beauty director.) Look at his/his wife’s Instagrams. I guarantee he has a LOT more protectors than just Jenni Konner (who is definitely still a part of that whole scene) and Lena Dunham. They’re just silently supporting him so as not to sully their reps like Lena.

  17. Jaded says:

    I’ve been sexually assaulted several times. The worst one was at a so-called job interview at a hotel when I was in my early twenties. Not once did I feel confident to go to the police because I knew I would be raked over the coals and blamed. Fast-forward 40 years and this sh*t is still happening despite the public attention violence against women has garnered. Men whine and exaggerate about how they can’t even say “good morning, you look nice” to a female co-worker without being hauled into HR and given a warning but the fact is there is still a rape culture deeply inculcated in many men, men who are well educated, sophisticated, good jobs, perhaps even a wife and family, but it’s there lurking in the weeks. And the fact that women of colour have to put up with a racial bias on top of that is unutterably cruel.

    Shame on anyone, including women like Lena and Jenni, who continue to cover up for monsters like their friend.

    • Jaded says:

      First I would like the say I’m sorry for what happened to you. I feel conflicted, when I was a teenager in the 90s a friend of mine was accused of rape, I stood by him bc I didn’t think it was in his character to do such a thing. As you can imagine this accusation caused rift within the community, 6 months later the girl admitted she lied about my friend and the rape allegation. I was glad I stood by him bc I thought I knew his character and the person he was but at the same time maybe there are parts of people that we never really know. Again I am super conflicted

      • Jaded says:

        Hello other Jaded! Thanks for your comment. I agree there certainly are instances where women, for whatever reasons – revenge, jealousy, etc. – will make false rape accusations and they just don’t seem to realize how that can wreak life-long problems for the man. Good for you for standing by your friend, at the end of the day only a lie-detector test could have vindicated him fully. However I think Aurora’s so-called friends let her down very badly and she’s acted with grace and maturity about their decision to deny her truth.

      • Jaded says:

        I couldn’t agree more, Aurora has handleded this amazingly well. I’m not sure at 37 i would be able to handle the same situation with such maturity and grace.

  18. Gratitude says:

    Women of color, I thank you for sharing your stories. As I white woman, I am cloaked with privilege that I don’t even know I have. Forms like this help me understand and overcome. Thank you.

    • Ader says:

      That’s awesome. And thank you for not being all, “NOT me! Not me!” That is one of the most irritating responses.

      We are all victims of socialization. And white women who can swallow their own privilege without regurgitating defensiveness are all right in my book!